Le Mars Man Sentenced To Federal Prison For Fraud
(Sioux City, IA) — A Le Mars man will spend three months in federal prison for a COVID-19 unemployment scheme. Fifty-five-year-old Dennis Chinn was sentenced after pleading guilty to theft of government funds. The U-S Attorney’s Office says Chinn admitted to falsely reporting he was earning 150 dollars a week so he could draw a 600-dollar federal unemployment payment,
and to fraudulently get benefits. Chinn received more than 13-thousand dollars in unemployment funds in which he was not entitled. He was also ordered to pay 12-thousand dollars in restitution.
Le Mars Ambulance Service And Le Mars Fire And Rescue Department To Merge Into One Department
(Le Mars) — As the Le Mars city council tackles the work of figuring the city’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year, two departments will now be combined into one budget. City Administrator Jason Vacura says the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department and the Le Mars Ambulance Services will operate
under one budget, and the two public safety units will be merged together as one entity.
Vacura says the city looked at three separate areas when considering the merger.
Check back at this website page as we will continue our conversation with City Administrator Jason Vacura regarding the merger of the ambulance service and the fire and rescue department.
Reynolds Explains Distribution Schedule For COVID Vaccinations
(Des Moines) — The distribution schedule of the COVID-19 vaccines was discussed during Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds news conference that was held Thursday morning. Reynolds acknowledged some problems with obtaining the vaccines from the federal government in a timely manner, saying that all states are in the same position with the demand for vaccines far out pacing the supply. Kelly Garcia, the Director of the Iowa Health and Human Services says the “vaccine is a scarce resource” and we may need to be patient until such time more vaccine doses are made available to Iowans. The governor says Iowa has been receiving only 19,500 doses of vaccines each week, but she says we have been using them almost immediately.
Reynolds tried to explain why Iowa has been receiving a smaller amount of vaccines than what was originally promised.
The governor says it is her goal to get as many Iowans vaccinated as quickly as possible.
Reynolds says beginning on February 1st, vaccines will be made available to those people eligible for the 1-B Tier.
Food production and processing employees will be the next group given priority for COVID-19 vaccinations.
Iowans Age 65 and Older Eligible for Next Phase of COVID Vaccines
(Des Moines, IA) — Iowans age 65 and older will become eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination next month, but Governor Kim Reynolds cautions the state isn’t getting as many doses as it needs. Reynolds said, “we are restricted on the number of doses that are coming into the state, and so hopefully working with the administration and with new vaccines coming on board, that allocation will continue to grow.” The state this week has just 19-thousand-500 doses for people outside of the nursing home industry. With today’s announcement for those 65 and older, another half a million Iowans are added to the list of those eligible to get in line for a first dose. Reynolds says, “this is no small undertaking and I cannot emphasize enough that Iowans will need to be patient.”
Hy-Vee To Assist With COVID-19 Vaccinations
(Des Moines) — Hy-Vee is stepping forward to assist with the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Aaron Wiese, Executive vice president of business innovation and chief health officer with Hy-Vee, appeared at the governor’s Thursday news conference to share how Hy-Vee pharmacies will now not only conduct COVID-19 testing, but also will perform vaccinations against the coronavirus.
Wiese says the Iowa-based grocery store has already partnered with Polk, Johnson, and Linn County health officials with the distribution of the vaccine.
The Hy-Vee official says they stand ready to help administer vaccinations for all across Iowa and into the eight states they serve, including sites away from Hy-Vee stores and pharmacies.
Wiese says Hy-Vee will notify patients for when their second round of dosage vaccines are available and need to be implemented. He says Iowans have come to know and trust their local Hy-Vee pharmacy.
Wiese says it is important to Hy-Vee that they are part of the solution in fighting the COVID-19 virus.
Grant Assistance Program Offered To Iowa Restaurants And Bars
(Des Moines) — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced during her news media conference, a new grant program specifically directed to assist Iowa’s restaurants and bars. A total of $40 million dollars will be available to better help restaurants and bars, keep employees, and remain open.
Reynolds says two Iowa lawmakers were responsible for creating the program, with the assistance from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
The governor says there is a short time open for the grant applications.
Additional information regarding the application process will be made available next week.
1709 New COVID-19 Cases in Iowa, 51 More Deaths
(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting one-thousand-709 new positive COVID tests, increasing the state’s total to 309-thousand-277 cases. Fifty-one more Iowans died of coronavirus complications which brings the death toll to four-thousand-445. The state has not updated hospitalization numbers Thursday. There are COVID outbreaks in 71 long-term care facilities in Iowa. Twelve counties have a 14-day average positivity rate of at least 15 percent. Just under 53-hundred tests contributed to Thursday’s numbers.
Seven Labor Groups File OSHA Complaint Against Iowa Legislative Leaders
(Des Moines, IA) — Seven labor groups have filed a complaint with the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration against Iowa legislative leaders. They say the lack of safety precautions during the coronavirus pandemic create an unsafe environmental at the Iowa Statehouse. The leaders of two unions and five labor federations accuse Republican leadership of falling short when they don’t require masks in the building or make people self-report positive results when they are tested for COVID-19. Republicans control both the Iowa House and Senate and they set the Capitol’s coronavirus protocols.
Iowa Congresswoman Miller-Meeks Calls For Election Challenge To Be Dismissed
(Washington, DC) — Iowa Congresswoman Marinnette Miller-Meeks is calling for an election challenge filed by Democrat Rita Hart to be dismissed. Miller-Meeks says Congress should follow precedent while taking the action. Hart is challenging the Iowa Republican’s victory in the Second Congressional District race last November. Miller-Meeks won by just six votes in one of the closest House in more than a decade. Hart argues that at least 22 legally cast ballots were mistakenly left uncounted. An attorney for Miller-Meeks says Hart should have pursued the matter in Iowa courts first.
Pandemic Doesn’t Slow Generosity Of Organ Donors
(Altoona, IA) — The Iowa Donor Network says the state had the highest number of organ donations in its history during 2020. The coronavirus pandemic didn’t slow the generosity of Iowans who transformed lives. Iowa set a new record for a third straight year with 300 organs donated for transplant. The new record of 103 organ donors beats the old one set in 2019 by 12-percent. The Altoona-based Iowa Donor Network works with health care partners to “maximize donation opportunities.”
SE Iowa Man Arrested On Drug, Child Endangerment Charges
(Burlington, IA) — An ongoing narcotics investigation in southeast Iowa has resulted in drug and child endangerment charges against a 37-year-old Burlington man. Damario Johnson was taken into custody Wednesday after a search warrant had been executed at his residence. Des Moines County prosecutors are charging Johnson will possession with intent to deliver meth, drug tax stamp violation, and child endangerment. He’s being held with no bond at the Des Moines County Correctional Center while waiting for a court appearance.
Northeast Iowa Child Care Operator Accused of Child Endangerment
(Sumner, IA) — The owner of a Sumner child care center is accused of abusing a one-year-old at the northeast Iowa facility. Authorities arrested 54-year-old Crystal Bahe (BAH-hee) on a charge of child endangerment. Police say they an employee at Crystal’s Christian Child Care reported that Bahe had inflicted bodily injury upon the one-year-old while disciplining the child’s behavior. Sumner police say the Iowa Department of Human Services launched an independent and separate investigation of the alleged incident. The child care center’s operations have been suspended until the investigations are complete. Officials say families of the children attending the day care have been notified. The children have all been removed from the facility.